Tag: ek hornbeck sports

2014 World Series Game 2: Giants at Royals

So, what happened last night?  Madison Bumgarner dominated and James Shields not so much.  Now everyone may be right about the extraordinary quality of the Royal’s Bullpen but by the time they got the call in the 4th Inning the game was already 5 – 0 and there was no saving to be done.

In the top of the 1st, Leadoff Single, Sacrifice, Single, Runners at the Corners, Double, Caught advancing, 2 RBI HR, Giants 3 – 0.

In the top of the 4th, Leadoff Double, Wild Pitch, Runner at 3rd, Walk, RBI Single, Shields pulled for Duffy, Sacrifice, 2nd and 3rd, Walk, RBI Walk, Giants 5 – 0.

In the top of the 7th, Leadoff Walk, RBI Triple, Pitching Change, Line Out, RBI Single, Giants 7 – 0.

In the bottom of the 7th a 2 Out Solo Shot, 7 – 1 Giants.

Game Over Dude.

Now I heard the announcers make some kind of remark about how it’s not so bad, that in Series where the Home team got blown out (and it was a blowout, make no mistake) the last 4 out of 5 times that team came back to win it.  I wish I could be more encouraging.

With this loss (and it was Ace against Ace on full rest) the Royals surrender Home Field Advantage and will have to win at least one game at the Giants to prevail whereas the Giants could sweep at Home and never have to visit the Royals again after tonight, win or lose.  Also Bumgarner is a rubber arm who threw only slightly more than 100 pitches and could easily make 3 appearences in this Series.

So either the Royals come up with a solution or the Giants only need 1 more game from somebody.

Now lest you think I’m just a heartless bastard who hates the Royals (and I am a heartless bastard, but I don’t necessarily hate the Royals any more than every team that’s not the Mets) I have a smidge of sympathy since it’s been so long for them.

But it’s Chicago Cubs sympathy.

Starting tonight for the Royals is Yordano Ventura (R, 14 – 10, ERA 3.20).  He’s a rookie with 3 appearences but no decisions Post Season and an ERA of 4.61 based on 13 Innings Pitched with 12 Hits, 2 Home Runs, and 7 Runs Scored.

He will be matched for the Giants by Jake Peavy (R, 7 – 13, ERA 3.73).  Post Season he is 1 – 0 in 2 appearences with an ERA of 1.86 based on 9.2 Innings Pitched with 6 hits, 1 Home Runs, and 2 Runs Scored.

This is really a pick ’em.  Peavy’s had a better Post Season but has played fewer innings and he sucked during the regular season.  It all depends on if the Royals bring their bats to the park tonight.

8 pm Fox.

2014 World Series Game 1: Giants at Royals

Starting tonight for the Royals is James Shields (R, 14 – 8, ERA 3.21).  Post Season he is 1 – 0, ERA 5.63 based on 16 Innings Pitched with 21 Hits, 3 Home Runs, 10 Runs Scored.  As a team the Royals are 8 – 0 entering the Series/

He will be matched for the Giants by Madison Bumgarner (L, 18 – 10, ERA 2.98).  Post Season he is 2 – 1, ERA 1.42 based on 31.2 Innings Pitched with 19 hits, 2 Home Runs, 6 Runs Scored.  As a team the Giants are 8 – 2 entering the Series.

So on paper at least the Giant’s should crush the Royals like bugs.  Going for them are home field advantage and the fact they haven’t lost in the post season… yet.  Also the Fox crew are all picking them to win the series, but I must say I think that’s merely rank sentimentality based on the fact that the Royals haven’t appeared in the Series since 1985 and they all proclaim their profound admiration for the Royals draft picks.

I’ll tell you this, if they do win management will deal them all before next year because that’s the way the Royals management works.

The Giants on the other hand seem intent on building a nice little dynasty with 3 appearences in the last 4 years.

They’re also from the Senior League where they play Baseball instead of this Junior League Rounders game.

8 pm Fox.

2013 Major League Baseball Championship Game 5: Red Sox @ Cardinals

So, the rubber (it’s a Lawn Bowling thing thing) of the stand at Busch and since the BoSox have already split we’ll travel again to the friendly confines of Fenway and worship the Great God Citgo and face the dreaded Green Monster.

It’s just a game and the Cards are tied at 2.

First the one they won Saturday.  In the 1st inning it looked like a rout, Single, Sacrifice, RBI Single, RBI Single, 2 – 0 Cards.  Then came the Sox 5th, Leadoff Triple, RBI Sacrifice.  And the 6th, Leadoff Walk, Single, RBI Single, all tied up.  Cards answered in the 7th, Leadoff Single, Hit by Pitch, 2 RBI Double.  Knotted again in the 8th, Leadoff Single, HBP, Sacrifice, Walked Loaded, RBI Sacrifice, RBI Single.  Bottom of the 9th, Single, Double, Sacrifice.

And then there was an obstruction

In baseball, obstruction is when a fielder illegally hinders a baserunner running within the basepath.

Baserunners are generally permitted to run from base to base without being physically blocked or hindered by a fielder. The only time that a fielder is not obligated to “get out of the way” of a baserunner is when the fielder is fielding or in possession of the ball.

Game over dude. 5 – 4 Cardinals, they lead the Series 2 – 1.

And so they take the field again last night.  In the Cardinals 3rd a Single and an Error puts the runner at 2nd with 1 Down.  RBI Single. In the 5th the Sox come back with a Leadoff Double, Back to Back Walks, and a Sacrifice.  It could have been much worse and it was in the 6th, 2 Out Single, a Walk, 3 RBI Homer.  Cards score again in the 7th, 2 Out Double and an RBI Single, but it’s too little too late.  4 – 2 Red Sox, Series tied at 2.

We have not yet had a squirrel sighting, but were I a serious Cards fan I might consider smuggling one in my pants.

2013 Major League Baseball Championship Game 4: Red Sox @ Cardinals

You want text with that?

2013 Major League Baseball Championship Game 3: Red Sox @ Cardinals

So the Cards escaped from Beantown with a split which is the best you can expect realistically and now we await a squirrel attack.

Did I say I had retired that video?  No, I said I needed a Red Sox video that was shorter than No, No, Nannette.  It’s an entirely different thing altogether.

It’s an entirely different thing.

Thank you.  I’m here all week.  Have I mentioned I do weddings, bar mitzvas, and funerals?

Oh, how did we get here?

Top of the 4th in Fenway, Leadoff Triple then a line Out and an RBI Sacrifice.  Cards on the Board 1 – 0.  Bottom 6th 1 On (Walk) 1 Out.  Ortiz, Mighty Ortiz, hits a 2 RBI Shot, 2 – 1 Sox.  Next half 2 On 1 Out rare Double Steal, runners at 2nd and 3rd.  Walked full.  2 RBI Sacrifice/Error, RBI Single.  Cards 4 – 2, Series knotted at 1.

It was really much more exciting than that.

Tonight we have Jake Peavy (12 – 5, 4.17 ERA R) against Joe Kelly (10 – 5, 2.69 ERA R).  Peavy is a loser, 1 decision in 2 Games post-season, 8 runs off 10 hits in 8 and 2 3rds innings for an ERA of 8.31.  Kelly is also a loser, 1 decision in 3 Games post-season, 9 runs off 18 hits in 16 and a 3rd for an ERA of 4.41.

So I expect it will be an exciting game (meaning not a (yawn) pitching duel).

2013 Major League Baseball Championship Game 2: Cardinals @ Red Sox

Does he or doesn’t he?  Overshadowing the Cardinal’s admittedly sucky performance last night is the question of whether Jon Lester was throwing a ‘Spit’ ball.

Now if you’re not much up on Baseball they don’t actually spit on the ball, but it is a fact that the aerodynamics of a pitch are such that any foreign substance on the ball, or abrasion of its surface can effect the trajectory.  Vaseline is very old school, in the most recent cases I remember the accusation was that sand or emery paper, or just strong and carefully filed fingernails were used.  Officially the Cards are discounting the idea which is gosh darn sportsman-like of them.

Of course mere spitters don’t explain the terrible fielding and awful pitching which is what really allowed the Sox to be so dominant last night.

The rout started in the 1st Inning.  Leadoff Walk, Line Out, Single.  2 On 1 Out.  Error, Bases Loaded.

I’m going to stop there for a moment and explain.  The ball went to 2nd to start a Double Play but Kozma lost the handle and it popped out of his glove before he could make the throw to 1st.  The 2nd Base Umpire called it an Out on the field when it just so obviously wasn’t.  Now supposedly a call like that can’t be over ruled (there is no crying or instant replay in Baseball), but an Umpire can ask for assistance and when the 2nd Base Umpire finally did the Crew Chief came out and basically said, “What are you?  Blind?  Drop by Lenscrafters tomorrow because you need new glasses.”

Or words to that effect.

Now you might expect me to be upset because I am marginally rooting for the Cards, but I’m not really.  It’s been my contention for years that plays at 2nd are horribly called and all a 2nd Baseman or Shortstop has to do is think about signaling an intention that he maybe might step on the bag for the not so tie to go to the Fielder rather than the Runner as the rules clearly state.

And the Cardinals were made to play for their mistake- 3 RBI Double, Sox 3 – 0.  It continued in the 2nd.  2 On 1 Out,  Error, bases loaded 1 Out.  RBI Single, RBI Sacrifice, Sox 5 – 0.  Quiet until the 7th, then 2 Outs, an Error, 2 RBI Home Run.  7 – 0 Sox.  Sox struck again in the 8th, Leadoff Double, Wild Pitch, Sacrifice, 8 – 0 Sox.  Playing for pride the Cards avoided a Shut Out with a Solo Shot.  Red Sox 8 – 1, lead Series 1 – 0.

And for you Cards fans I suggest you look at the last number very carefully before you despair.  As bad as they looked last night they could have lost 100 – 0 and it would still be just the one W.  Good teams are supposed to win at home.

If you’re looking for bad news it’s unclear if Beltran will start tonight.  No broken ribs but he’s bruised up pretty seriously and they don’t play him because of his fielding, but because of what he can do at the plate.

John Lackey (10 – 13, 3.52 ERA R) will face Michael Wacha (4 – 1, 2.78 ERA R).  In the post-season Lackey has not lost, 2 – 0, 11 hits for 4 runs in 12 innings and an ERA of 2.84.  For a rookie Wacha has been a pleasant surprise, also undefeated at 3 – 0 post-season he has 8 hits and 1 run in 21 innings pitched for a stunningly low 0.42 ERA.  Advantage Cardinals.

On the other hand you saw what good that did in Game 1.

2013 Major League Baseball Championship Game 1: Cardinals @ Red Sox

Yup.  That’s what Harry Frazee traded the Bambino for.

Now at 90+ minutes that’s a little bit long even for a World Series game where they’ll dust the plate after every pitch so that everyone gets their TV time so I’m in the market for some kind of short and snappy YouTube vignette to symbolize the BoSox.  You know, something like this-

The story behind the Rally Squirrel is this-

Rally Squirrel is the name given to an American gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) which appeared on the field and ran across home plate at Busch Stadium during a 2011 National League Division Series (NLDS) Major League Baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals on October 5, 2011. The squirrel captured American media attention, and was adopted as an unofficial mascot by the Cardinals and the populace of St. Louis. The Cardinals would go on to win the 2011 World Series.

On October 4, a gray squirrel appeared in the outfield during Game 3 of the Phillies-Cardinals National League Division Series, causing an interruption in play.

During the fifth inning of Game 4 on October 5, a squirrel again appeared on the field. Play was not interrupted, but the squirrel caused considerable confusion, running across home plate as Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt was delivering a pitch to Skip Schumaker. The squirrel then jumped into the stands. Umpire Ángel Hernández called the pitch a ball; Oswalt and Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel argued, unsuccessfully, that Oswalt had been distracted by the squirrel and that “no pitch” should be called. Manuel later avowed that, if he had a firearm, he would have shot the obstreperous rodent. Some commentators speculated that the October 4 and October 5 squirrels were the same animal, but this was not proven.

Now I’ll not be rooting for the Sox much I think, though I really have nothing against them except that the game they play is not Baseball but some kind of weenie contest where Pitchers hide in the dugout instead of standing at the plate and their at bats are given to overpaid has beens who are no longer good enough to take the field.  Connecticut has always been a battleground between those who hate the Yankees with the burning white hot passion of a thousand suns and people who like their Baseball easy and are willing to let someone else bankroll it.  Of course there is no arguing with the results- 25% of all Championships in the last hundred years or so.

The Cardinal program is kind of like the Senior League version of that.

St Louis Cardinals: the nicest fans in baseball?

David Lengel, The Guardian

Tuesday 22 October 2013 11.41 EDT

Maybe it’s best for them to stay in groups whilst away from St Louis, because Cardinals fans are under unprecedented fire lately. Why? For being Cardinals fans. What’s the perception driving detractors of St Louis’ fans? That they’re a sickly-sweet group of do-gooding polite Midwesterners that refuse to get upset with their own players even when they suck. That sometimes, they even have the nerve to applaud the opposition! (See this blog on Deadspin and this on Bloomberg). This hatred is exacerbated when the Cards crush you season after season of course, to the tune of 19 pennants and 11 World Series titles. Yes, outsiders are starting to notice such dominating play, and the Yankees, long the premier public enemy for baseball fans, may soon have company.

Some selected stories for your attention-

Red Sox vs Cardinals: an old time World Series with a new spin

Harry J Enten, The Guardian

Wednesday 23 October 2013 08.55 EDT

(I)t hasn’t been since 1999 in which the teams with the leagues’ best records competed against each other in the World Series. For an old-time baseball fan like my father, who can’t quite figure out what a wild card is exactly, this World Series offers a respite to those who believe the regular season should count for a lot more than it currently does.

Second, it is fitting that such a series would take place in Boston and St. Louis. Both teams played in their respective leagues and respective cities when the American League was founded in 1901. Only 16 of the now 30 major league franchises were actually in existence 112 years ago.

The percentage dips even lower when you consider teams that were playing in the cities they do now. Only four American League teams – the Indians, Red Sox, Tigers, and White Sox – and five National League teams – the Cardinals, Cubs, Reds, Phillies, and Pirates – were in their current cities when the current Major League alignment came into existence.

(I)t wasn’t until the 1920s when the Yankees began their run of World Series victories. One could argue that the Boston Red Sox were the American League team of the first quarter of the 20th century. The Yankees weren’t even the best team in New York, as that honor fell to the National League New York Giants.

This World Series promises to reset the dial to a non-Yankee ruled world. Both the Cardinals and Red Sox have won two World Series in this century, tied with the Yankees. The winning team will have won the most World Series in the 21st century and ever so slightly knock the Yankees back.

Red Sox 2013 have many parallels to 2004 World Series winners

Hunter Felt, The Guardian

Monday 21 October 2013 12.00 EDT

It could be argued that no team had ever had an unlikelier road to the World Series than the 2004 Red Sox, to the point where the World Series itself ended up being entirely anticlimactic. The 2004 St Louis Cardinals, who had won 105 games in the regular season and had, in Albert Pujols, the Greatest Player In Baseball Not Named Barry Bonds, barely put up a fight during the four-game sweep. The Cardinals were just on the wrong side of history. When asked if St Louis would have done better in the World Series if they had home field advantage, which the wild card winning Red Sox only held because the American League had won that year’s all-star game, manager Tony La Russa would sarcastically offer that maybe his team would have actually won a single game.

Boston Red Sox vs St Louis Cardinals: position by position guide

David Lengel, The Guardian

Tuesday 22 October 2013 14.45 EDT

Overall prediction

I learned my lesson last time after picking against St Louis in the past… Cardinals in seven games.

A Rematch Red All Over (Except the Green Monster)

By TYLER KEPNER, The New York Times

Published: October 22, 2013

THEY LOVE L.A. This World Series matchup very well would not have happened without the local cable contracts in Southern California. The Angels, flush with cash from a deal with Fox, showered $240 million on the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols after the 2011 season. The Cardinals chose Michael Wacha with their compensatory draft pick, and they parceled out the savings from Pujols’s rejection to re-sign Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright and sign Carlos Beltran. Seeking stars for their new TV deal, the Dodgers bailed out the Red Sox in August 2012 by trading for Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, three stars with sinkhole contracts who had grown miserable in Boston. With more than $260 million off their books in one deal, the Red Sox reset their roster by signing seven free agents (Ryan Dempster, Stephen Drew, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, David Ross, Koji Uehara and Shane Victorino) without committing more than $39 million to any of them.

RUNNING GAME Only three teams stole more bases than the Red Sox, who succeeded on 123 of 142 attempts in the regular season. They just kept running through the playoffs, swiping 11 bases in 13 attempts. But Yadier Molina is probably the best in the majors at shutting down the running game. Opponents attempted just three steals (two successfully) in the playoffs off Molina.

STYLISH BIRDS As they seek another World Series victory, the Cardinals have already claimed one crown this year: Uni Watch ranked their uniforms first among all teams in baseball, the N.F.L., the N.B.A. and the N.H.L. “M.L.B.’s best-looking team looks even better this season,” wrote Paul Lukas, “thanks to the addition of that great retro-style alternate jersey.” The Cardinals wear the alternate “St. Louis” jerseys on home Saturdays, which means they should wear them for Game 3. The best-dressed of all is the veteran reliever Randy Choate, who wears old-style striped stirrups to accentuate the Cardinals’ classic look.

Up Close, Fenway’s Green Monster Not So Green


Published: October 23, 2013 at 10:31 AM ET

Up close, Fenway Park’s famous left-field Wall is pocked with thousands of dents and white scuff marks left from decades of doubles that banged off of its facade. Some of the spots are so well-defined that you can even make out the red stitches from the baseball, the Rawlings logo or the Major League Baseball insignia left behind on the green background.

“All those dents out there, you can’t help but realize who put them there. That’s history,” Red Sox left fielder Jonny Gomes said Tuesday on workout day for the World Series. “I come to work every single day in a museum. It’s not a baseball field, it’s a museum.”

Fenway itself is 101 years old, but the 37-foot Wall was added in 1934, first painted green in 1947 and rebuilt in 1976, when it was covered in a hard plastic that is repainted before opening day every spring. Dubbed the Green Monster because, just 310 feet from home plate down the line, it’s a scary sight for pitchers, it runs from the left-field grandstands to the 379-foot mark in left-center.

And, every couple of inches, there is a ding or a streak from a ball that bounced off it. It could be a Red Sox batter or an opponent. Maybe it was in batting practice, or maybe in a game. Some were fly balls that would have been caught in another park, and others would have been home runs elsewhere turned into a Fenway single or double.

What impresses you most about Fenway is how small it is (some would say intimate, but let’s call a spade (♠) a card symbol that looks like a shovel if you turn it upside down).  Thus the ‘Green Monster’.  The other side is a street and without the height it’s just too damn easy to knock one out of the park.  The only intimidation is in your mind as a batter and as a fielder you get used to playing it like a jai-lai backstop.

The Great God Citgo looms over all and even by drunken triangulation with the Pru(dential Tower) gives you a rough idea if you’re puking above or below Kenmore Square or are even on the right side of the Charles.

Thanks for holding my hair.

And finally-

24-0 and Pitching in Japan’s World Series

By DAVID WALDSTEIN, The New York Times

Published: October 23, 2013

Unless the typhoon season disrupts the schedule of the Nippon Series, Masahiro Tanaka will take the ball for the Pacific League’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in Game 1 Saturday night, looking to continue one of the most remarkable runs by a pitcher in professional baseball, and doing it in a region desperate for positive events in the years after a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

So far, nothing has been able to disrupt Tanaka, who finished the regular season 24-0 with a 1.27 earned run average and a save, then was 1-0 with a shutout and a save in the playoffs after Rakuten won its first Pacific League title. In the regular season he faced 822 batters and gave up only 6 home runs. Incredibly, his performance came in a season marked by a juiced ball controversy: Wladimir Balentien of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows hit 60 home runs to shatter Sadaharu Oh’s cherished record of 55 homers, set in 1964.

According to Jim Small, Major League Baseball’s vice president for Asia, the success of Japanese players in the United States, combined with the popularity in Japan of the World Baseball Classic, has brought a more open, international approach to their game, and Balentien, who is from Curaçao, was generally embraced for his feat.

“I think there was genuine excitement and happiness here (at least from Swallows fans) to see him break the record,” Small wrote in an e-mail message. “Japan has changed a lot in the last 10 years.”

Small, who has lived in Japan for 10 years, also said the success that Tanaka has brought to Rakuten is measured in more than just his unblemished record. Rakuten plays in Sendai, a city devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that damaged their stadium. The area has not recovered fully, but its underdog team, led by Tanaka, is looking to overthrow the popular and mighty Yomiuri Giants of the Central League in the Nippon Series.

“You have to put what he did in context because of what that team did,” Small said in the e-mail. “It was their first league title and has absolutely galvanized that region. Tens of thousands of people are still in shelters and more than 100,000 had to leave the area to find work elsewhere. It is a seriously depressed area. Tanaka and the Eagles have given people there so much to be happy about. It is truly amazing.”

“World” Series is kind of a misnomer.  I prefer ‘Major League Baseball Championship’ or ‘Fall Classic’.

The Matchups-

  • Wednesday 10/23 Game One: Jon Lester (15 – 8, 3.75 ERA L) vs Adam Wainwright (19 – 9, 2.94 ERA R)
  • Thursday 10/24 Game Two: John Lackey (10 – 13, 3.52 ERA R) vs Michael Wacha (4 – 1, 2.78 ERA R)
  • Saturday 10/26 Game Three: Joe Kelly (10 – 5, 2.69 ERA R) vs Clay Buchholz (12 – 1, 1.74 ERA R)
  • Sunday 10/27 Game Four: Lance Lynn (15 – 10, 3.97 ERA R) vs Jake Peavy (12 – 5, 4.17 ERA R)

Jon Lester is 2 – 1 in the post-season 16 hits and 5 runs in 16 and a 3rd innings pitched for an ERA of 2.33.  Adam Wainwright is also 2 – 1 with 17 hits and 4 runs in 23 innings pitched for an ERA of 1.57.  Advantage, St. Louis.

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